As you see more and more photographers turning to Digital Cameras you wonder what the big attraction is. After all, there are many examples in magazines and contests of film camera pictures that do as well or better than their digital counterparts.
I think it boils down to a couple of things - convenience, closely followed by control. The mid-level consumer digital cameras, $700 to $1500, are the greatest bargain in photography equipment today. Why? Because these cameras offer the greatest convenience and control over the picture product. It's Instant Gratification.
The first thing you have to look at is the little solid state Compact Flash Card that takes the place of film. You pay for it once and it lasts forever. If you decide you want to make snapshots for your digital album and preserve them on a CD you can capture hundreds of pictures on one card, format them into a slide show and transfer them to a $1.00 700-Megabyte CD. If you want to put a large portrait into the middle of your snapshots just set it for portrait, arrange the subject, and shoot. You can even change the "film speed" from 100 to 800 for the next "action" shot if you want to. You can set your camera up for a sunrise, artificial light, shade, and so on, or just leave it in Program mode and Auto White Balance, as you go from one shot to the next. Either during the shoot, or at the end of the day you can look at a slideshow of the proofs on your Camera, Laptop or TV, see what you want to keep, delete the rest, save the good ones, erase the card, or add more to it.
Seeing the preview of what you are going to get on the LCD Screen is where the control starts. It's not as good as seeing it on a laptop computer screen like the studios use, but it certainly gives you a great chance to work on your composition, experiment with different lighting, or just optimize your picture to make it match the image you have in mind. The possibilities are overwhelming when you think about it.
The Bottom Line:
The catch is this; your pictures will only be as good as you make them. If you are taking pictures that "don't turn out" on a film camera you will probably have the same results on a digital camera. You have to make an effort to learn how to take good photographs. You have to learn about the features of your camera.. You have to understand how to use them, and you have to know the basics of photography to produce good pictures with a digital camera. That's no different than shooting with a film camera. The difference is convenience and control.